Singing to Survive

Sergio Álvarez


A journalist suffering through a personal and professional crisis is sent to gather stories of reconciliation after the peace treaty signed in 2016 with the FARC guerrilla group. On his travels across the supposedly former war zone he finds that the conflict still rages and injustice and violence continue to be rife but also that in addition to mutual support and a will to live the local people are kept going by their love of music.
Singing to Survive is a journey across the Colombia that we'd prefer not to admit exists but that is still very much a reality: the custom of using drug trafficking to finance paramilitary groups who then use murder to silence any form of ideological or political dissent; the culpability and complicity of the elites and armed forces in these crimes; the indifference and silence of the middle classes in the face of institutionalized abuse and the eternal marginalization of ordinary people.
As in his previous novel 35 Dead, Sergio Álvarez has produced a narrative that a country that refuses to look itself in the mirror needs to hear. This time it comes accompanied by a soundtrack: in addition to telling his story the author shows us how music keeps us going, becoming a form of healing, a foundation for identity and a source of hope.


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